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England Hockey issues cautious guidelines on safe return to pitches

By Richard Bright

Outdoor pitches can open, hockey played in a small group and one-to-one coaching can now be undertaken following cautious guidance released by England Hockey.

The national governing body encouraged the hockey fraternity to consider “the health of themselves and others” in issuing a first stage in a return to play – but asked for the plentiful hockey at home initiatives to continue.

Outdoor hockey pitches can now be opened as long as the government guidelines are followed, the full details of which can be found here.

Hockey can be played by two players under social distancing guidelines and in a household group, where social distancing measures are not required.

Some clubs have already started a booking pitch process, while other clubs, including Timperley HC, are looking for suggestions from club members on how to best use the pitch.

Guidelines also released mean that coaches undertaking one-to-one coaching must be be covered by suitable insurance. England Hockey stressed that guidance may change given that it still seeking government clarification on coaching youth and parents or guardians being in attendance.

Those who do book pitch time have been urged to avoid touching goals and equipment on surfaces, while maintaining a 2m social distance if playing with someone outside their own household.

Each venue will have direction rules for distancing, while members have been asked not to congregate after playing. Equipment and facilities, say England Hockey, should be disinfected between sessions.

England Hockey added in a statement: “As the longer-term plan for lifting restrictions become clearer, England Hockey is developing a structured approach to managing the steps, linked to future government guidance.

“Our aim is to allow all those in the game to understand how we intend to navigate through the next few months.”

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